Implats Renews Royal Bafokeng Bid, Valuing Miner at $2.7 Billion

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Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd. revived its pursuit of Royal Bafokeng Platinum Ltd., with an offer that values its smaller South African rival at about 43.4 billion rand ($2.7 billion).

Implats, as the miner is known, offered 150 rand in cash and shares to RBPlat shareholders, a 24% premium to the closing price on Nov. 26. That comes after Northam Platinum Holdings Ltd. earlier this month agreed to pay 180 rand a share for a 32.8% stake in RBPlat, thwarting Implats’ initial approach.

Implats has long wanted to own Royal Bafokeng’s low-cost mechanized assets, which are key to prolonging the life of its own deep-level operations in the adjacent Rustenburg mining complex. While Northam swooped to buy out RBPlat’s biggest shareholder, Implats Chief Executive Officer Nico Muller is still determined to gain majority control.

“Our ambition is to develop to a control position,” the CEO said on a call Monday, after Implats already built a 24.5% stake in RBPlat. “We see the shareholder support that we got already as a proxy of potential support that we can expect going forward.”

Implats said Abax Investments, Allan Gray Ltd., Coronation Asset Management Ltd., MandG Investment Managers and Ninety One SA Ltd. have already sold their shares to the company. Rbplat surged 14% to 138.49 rand as of 10:19 a.m. in Johannesburg.

“For RBPlat shareholders, the offer provides a compelling value proposition by crystallizing inherent equity value at an attractive premium, through the receipt of a combination of cash and high quality and liquid scrip in a company,” Implats said. Muller said Northam is unlikely to follow up with a general offer immediately, following its purchase of the stake owned by Royal Bafokeng Holdings — the investment arm of the Bafokeng nation that’s led by King Kgosi Leruo Molotlegi and his advisers.

“There is a clear indication 180 a share it offered to RBH is probably not repeatable,” said Muller, adding that he doesn’t expect Northam to sell its stake.

Leon Van Schalkwyk, a spokesman for Northam, didn’t immediately respond to calls seeking comment.

Northam’s audacious bid for the RBH stake reflected the growth ambitions of Northam CEO Paul Dunne. The company said earlier this month that the RBPlat stake provides a “strategic platform” for a possible combination of the two miners in the medium term. Northam has an option to raise its stake in RBPlat to 36%.

RBPlat said in a separate statement it has appointed PSG Capital Ltd. as an independent expert to assess the Implats offer.

Source: Bloomberg

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